We’re heading rapidly into the holiday season, so who’d like a present?
A giveaway is not a present.
Well, not unless you’re giving it to everyone that enters (or visits your blog depending on the wording).
A giveaway is a raffle, or a draw, where an advertised number of people win a prize by being drawn at random from all the entries received. Most countries have rules on what exactly constitutes a raffle, or a draw, and the fine line between it being a gentle bit of fun, and a form of gambling which requires a licence.
I’m not going to go into what those laws are, although there are some very good posts around on the internet to help you ensure you aren’t straying into vice. Most of them I found through The Story Reading Ape reporting them, thank you, Ape … mwah! Rafflecopter has a very useful set of blog posts to help steer you through the promotion maze. (Scroll to the bottom of your dashboard page and click ‘blog’)
I like running giveaways. I like seeing people enter, and I hope they like entering and come back to read my blog more often as a result. I suspect they don’t, and I’m sure there are ‘professional’ giveaway entrants, just as there are ‘professional’ competition entrants in newspaper contests and so on. If I offer a gift card in my giveaways, on its own or as an alternative to a book, I get more entrants. I’m fairly sure these extras aren’t interested in my books, and possibly not in any books. Fair enough. My giveaway is open to all, and you never know.
One of the best ways if you want to make sure your book prize is being seen by people who’d like to read it is to do a Goodreads Giveaway.
Any Goodreads author can promote his or her own book in this way, and choose the countries it will be open to. This makes it a great marketing tool. Is it set in the Virgin Islands? Then promote it just to readers in the Virgin Islands! It would be very interesting to see how many entrants you get.
Setting up the giveaway takes just a few minutes.
Click on the title you want to promote
find the link at the side ‘List a new giveaway’
complete the details
check the box when you’ve read the terms & conditions
check your email box for a ‘confirm you want to do this’ email from Goodreads
click the ‘I understand’ link in your email
admire your giveaway page and double check the details, especially the blurb (you can edit it within reason)
Goodreads likes at least a week before the giveaway goes live. Keep it open for as long as you like… I tend to do one calendar month just for ease of remembering. You can do very long ones, or shorter ones, but give people a chance to find it unless you’re going to do a lot of other promotion.
Goodreads suggests you start your blurb with ‘x number of copies…’ etc, but that’s in the text (metadata) on the page, so I usually do a very short book summary followed by confirmation of 1 signed copy, or whatever. The thing is to make the first line enough to get them to want more, as always.
You can use the Goodreads Giveaway widget in your posts and on your website’s sidebars. They are very nice, but some themes mess up the fonts. On WordPress.com they should be okay in posts but not in sidebars; in WP.org the formatting goes adrift in sidebars but can be edited. On Blogger they’re usually fine.
You can tell people about the giveaway by making it an ‘event’ for your Goodreads friends as well as tweeting, Facebooking and every other social media event. And blog posts, of course.
Once the Giveaway is up and running, Goodreads lets it run through to its final hours, when it will appear on the front page of the giveaway list (assuming there aren’t hundreds finishing at the same time). I enjoy seeing how many people have signed up (and added the book to their reading lists) as the time rolls on. I usually get between 500 and 750 people after my books, and it has gone to 1200 in the recent past. Goodreads sends an email to anyone who has already listed the book on their reading lists, advising them of the giveaway, which seems a very good thing to me!
When it’s over, Goodreads emails you, and gives you the address(es) of the winner(s) to send your book to. Don’t delay – and try to remember to click the button on the Goodreads page when you’ve sent them. If you’re lucky, you will get a fair review from the winner at some stage in the next couple of years.
And that’s really what you’re doing it for, aren’t you?
I’ve currently got a Goodreads Giveaway going for the BookElves Anthology Volume 2. Why not enter it? You have a great chance of winning, after all!